What is Nanoleaf? Smart light panels and Nanoleaf Canvas explored

If you want to know more about Nanoleaf lighting, what it is, how it works and why you need it, then you’ve come to the right place.

We’ve explored Nanoleaf’s smart lighting in the past and love how customisable and tunable it is. We’ve also used it to great effect when combined with a rhythm-module to sync lighting with games and music. There are plenty of reasons to invite Nanoleaf into your home, but what is it really capable of?

Triangle lights for gaming room setup

Nanoleaf light panels, formerly known as Nanoleaf Aurora light panels, have been around for a while now. These are triangular lighting panels which connect together in a variety of customisable ways. The result of which is a personal lighting experience which fits neatly into your home and own personal style.

With the simple use of small, cardboard-like “linkers” you can snap the panels together to create a circuit which can then be powered by the control box which is plugged into the mains.

The lighting panels can be connected to each other on any side, meaning you can create a variety of different patterns of all shapes and sizes.

size of triangle lights
size of triangle lights

The standard kit comes with nine panels, but you can buy multiple expansion packs with extra panels to add a splash of colour and light to any wall in your home.

There’s a configuration tool which gives you suggestions on what shapes you can create based on how many panels you have. If you’re not sure what designs to use there’s plenty of inspiration on the company’s Instagram account and even a passionate Subreddit dedicated to Nanoleaf with plenty of great designs to sift through.

If you have access to a printer we’d also recommend using the Augmented Reality layout assistant within the app. This allows you to point your phone at a QR code on the wall and get a pattern painted for you to visualise the design(s) before you even start putting the panels up.

triangle lights linked with hexagon lights

You can also purchase various mounting accessories to account for your designs too. There are even flexible linkers which can be bent to allow for angled mounting, meaning you can take your designs from wall-to-wall.

Standard installation is a breeze. The panels are lightweight and on standard (non-porous) surfaces they can be easily held in place with the included 3M adhesive stickers. A screw mounting kit is available for wood and brick if you want a more permanent fitting.

We’d highly recommend a spirit level and plenty of planning before installing though as once they go up, they aren’t easy to get down.

Nanoleaf light panels are an interesting way to add light to your room over and above the standard light bulbs. They’re a great way to create your own designs and provide a talking point or just a new light source in a space in your home.

They’re also not only customisable in pattern, but in lighting too. Capable of supporting up to 16.7 million colours, the Nanoleaf light panels can be set to a range of different shades and hues throughout the day and changed on a whim too.

Nanoleaf products are app-controlled via Apple or Android smartphones and connect to your home Wi-Fi easily via this app. From the app, you can then change colours, adjust brightness, set a static colour or select a theme and much more besides.

Users are a big part of the Nanoleaf experience and other owners regularly submit new colour palettes that you can download and try for free from within the app.

Rhythm module and music sync

  • Audio sensor microphone
  • Aux line-in 3.5mm audio jack
  • Compatible with app for different colour patterns

The Nanoleaf light panel starter kit now includes the Rhythm module as standard. This is an extra attachment which slots into any of the light panels easily. This module then allows the light panels to react to any sound in the room. Suddenly the lights are dancing and reacting to your favourite tunes, television programmes and even games. As long as you have capable speakers in the room, you can get the party going.

The built-in mic does all the work listening for the sounds and the module itself gets its power in the same way as the light panels, so no extra power or batteries are necessary either.

triangle table lamp

Nanoleaf Canvas takes all the funky lighting fun of the classic lighting panels to a new and more interactive level. Canvas is made up of edge-to-edge light squares rather than triangles. Like the standard light panels, they’re fully modular and customisable.

Nanoleaf Canvas allows you to connect a multitude of panels to create any pattern you can imagine in any room of your home. The standard pack comes with nine six-inch square light panels, but is expandable. In fact, a single control square is capable of supporting up to 500 Canvas panels (though you need an extra power supply for each additional 25 squares in the setup). If you have the money and space you could fill an entire wall with colourful light.

Nanoleaf Canvas is light enough to be installed on the ceiling too, which gives you the ability to create both functional and funky lighting options.

Nanoleaf Canvas has buttons built right into the control panel which allows you to change the settings with a quick and easy press. Where the original Nanoleaf light panels had a separate power module, Canvas has a dedicated control square instead. This control square still lights up the same way as the others, but offers easy access to the controls too.

The buttons also have advanced controls when held for longer. Holding the “next” button for three seconds, for example, saves the current scene. This is useful if you’ve pressed the shuffle button to set a random scene and found one you really like.

The control square also has the power to sense sounds in the surroundings. This allows Nanoleaf Canvas to make use of Rhythm mode – reacting to music playing in the room. This makes for a much more engaging lighting experience and a fantastic talking point at parties, if nothing else.

Of course, you can use the Nanoleaf Smarter Series app to control Canvas in the same way as you would Nanoleaf light panels. These new light panels are also touch-capable as well. Each panel can react to touch, sending a ripple of light across all the panels from where you’ve touched for example or simply changing colours on a light press.

Canvas also reacts to gestures – double taps, swipes up, down, left and right will all react in different ways. These can be customised within the settings in the app and assigned to a variety of actions.

Nanoleaf Canvas is capable of displaying 16.4 million colours across every panel, giving you plenty of lighting options and variety. You can select standard daylight, reading light or warm white hue or opt for a range of funky colour pallets and rhythm designs.

Free palettes are also downloadable within the app or you can customise the colours just the way you want them. You can press to shuffle between random scenes and the control panel will remember the last five that were loaded too – allowing you to go back if you found one you liked by accidentally skipped onto the next.

Diving into the app settings further allows you to play around with other colour options in the scene creator where you can “paint” individual panels with a static colour or create dynamic and rhythm scenes until your heart is content.

Imagine the possibilities if you had a large number of panels to play around with.

remote controlled triangle led light

Nanoleaf Canvas is designed to be easy to install and mount yourself without the need for screws. The standard pack comes with nine linkers which allow you to connect the panels in linear or staggered arrangements.

These linkers are a simple plug-and-play affair. They slot into each light square and allow you to easily to snap them together. The panels can then be mounted to the wall with the included 3M mounting stickers.

Each panel tells you where to mount the tape and has a recessed slot for the linkers which keeps them out of sight when they’re mounted on the wall.

When it comes to mounting and creating a pattern, Canvas works with Augmented Reality layout assistant within the app in the same way as Nanoleaf Aurora. You can use this app to suggest patterns based on how many panels you have or look online for inspiration.

The manual recommends trying out different layouts on a table so you can not only ensure everything is working but get an idea of what the layout will look like when it’s installed on the wall. Taking into account things like where you’re going to run the power cable will ensure the end result is neat, tidy and beautiful too.

Pairing is pain-free. Loading up the app and selecting to add a new device you’re given clear instructions on pairing with the Canvas that includes simply tapping your phone to the control panel when it’s plugged in and turned on. We found this took a matter of seconds, then you can fully control the lights from your phone with ease.

Plugging in during mounting is a good idea too, so you can ensure each panel is connected properly to create a circuit and light every square.

A more recent update to the Nanoleaf software has included the rollout of a desktop app. That app can not only be used to control the lights from your PC or laptop, but also to sync the colours of the panels to match what’s on your screen.

This results in a beautiful and immersive light show that makes games, films and anything else on your screen more interesting in a flash. We’ve written about how to set this up and it’s an ace addition to your entertainment whether you’re watching Netflix or diving into some great PC games.

If you’re a PC gamer and a Razer fan, then there’s more good news as Nanoleaf also works with Razer mice, keyboards, headsets and more.

It’s possible to integrate your Nanoleaf lights into Razer’s Synapse software and then sync the lights with the RGB goodness of your favourite gaming gizmos. You can even program Nanoleaf’s touch compatible panels with macros, key presses and more.

Both types of Nanoleaf are also compatible with IFTTT. This means you can set up clever recipes to have the lights react in a variety of cool and useful ways. Have the light panels turn on when you come home, flash when you get a new follower on Twitter or even alert you to a missed call.

Our favourite things though might be the simulated sunrise recipe which allows the light panels to slowly and gently brighten your bedroom to stir you from your slumber. You can use a similar logic to slowly dim the lights at bedtime too.

Nanoleaf light panels are also compatible with Google Home and Amazon Alexa meaning you can control the lights with your voice via your favourite assistant. Turning lights on and off, adjusting brightness, colours and more. We particularly like setting up Google Home routines to change the lights with a single word or phrase.